aroc asked
the other day i read (in john elder's, the poetry of experience): "marianne moore described poems as imaginary gardens with real toads in them." i immediately thought of you and how much you would feel this.


thank you. what a sweet message to come home to. i love this idea, that the toad is the only tangible thing, that the only thing that matters is the flesh of it the meat of it the things that croak the things that touch the dirt of every flowerbed. poetry is belly touching earth. thank you for giving me something to think about while i clean the house. thank you, thank you, thank you.

(here’s the poem that john elders is talking of, by the way)

Poetry, Marianne Moore

I, too, dislike it: there are things that are important beyond
       all this fiddle. 
   Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it, one 
       discovers in
   it after all, a place for the genuine. 
       Hands that can grasp, eyes 
       that can dilate, hair that can rise
          if it must, these things are important not because a 

high-sounding interpretation can be put upon them but because
       they are 
    useful. When they become so derivative as to become
    the same thing may be said for all of us, that we
       do not admire what
       we cannot understand: the bat
           holding on upside down or in quest of something to

eat, elephants pushing, a wild horse taking a roll, a tireless
       wolf under
   a tree, the immovable critic twitching his skin like a horse
       that feels a flea, the base —
   ball fan, the statistician —
       nor is it valid
           to discriminate against “business documents and

school-books”; all these phenomena are important. One must make
       a distinction
   however: when dragged into prominence by half poets, the
       result is not poetry, 
   nor till the poets among us can be
       ”literalists of 
       the imagination” — above
          insolence and triviality and can present

for inspection, “imaginary gardens with real toads in them,”
       shall we have
   it. In the meantime, if you demand on the one hand,
   the rawness of poetry in
       all its rawness and
       that which is on the other hand
          genuine, you are interested in poetry.

Leave the dishes.
Let the celery rot in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator
and an earthen scum harden on the kitchen floor.
Leave the black crumbs in the bottom of the toaster.
Throw the cracked bowl out and don’t patch the cup.
Don’t patch anything. Don’t mend. Buy safety pins.
Don’t even sew on a button.
Let the wind have its way, then the earth
that invades as dust and then the dead
foaming up in gray rolls underneath the couch.
Talk to them. Tell them they are welcome.
Don’t keep all the pieces of the puzzles
or the doll’s tiny shoes in pairs, don’t worry
who uses whose toothbrush or if anything
matches, at all.
Except one word to another. Or a thought.
Pursue the authentic — decide first
what is authentic,
then go after it with all your heart.
Your heart, that place
you don’t even think of cleaning out.
That closet stuffed with savage mementos.
Don’t sort the paper clips from screws from saved baby teeth
or worry if we’re all eating cereal for dinner
again. Don’t answer the telephone, ever,
or weep over anything at all that breaks.
Pink molds will grow within those sealed cartons
in the refrigerator. Accept new forms of life
and talk to the dead
who drift in though the screened windows, who collect
patiently on the tops of food jars and books.
Recycle the mail, don’t read it, don’t read anything
except what destroys
the insulation between yourself and your experience
or what pulls down or what strikes at or what shatters
this ruse you call necessity.


obsessively taking out books from the library and aggressively not returning them because I’m possessive


vapid intelligence. more to come.

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